Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi is scheduled today to visit a San Francisco school with an Italian-language program focusing on preschool and primary education as part of his first visit to the U.S. as the European nation's leader.
Renzi, accompanied by Italian Ambassador to the U.S. Claudio Bisogniero and San Francisco Italian Consul General Mauro Battocchi, will cut the ribbon for the dedication ceremony of La Scuola International School's new campus at 735 Fell St. in Hayes Valley.
Renzi will also visit kindergarten and first-grade classrooms before joining students at their “family lunch,” a meal prepared daily that mirrors home cooking, said Judy Laws, a spokeswoman for the school.
La Scuola, which recently opened its second campus to expand the school from 140 to 160 students, is one of two Reggio Emilia-inspired schools in the U.S. where teaching focuses on “kind, creative education” and students are taught bilingually in English and Italian, Laws said.
The school was established in 2000 as a home-based play group program for the founders' children to learn Italian, and grew into a more structured recreational program, followed by a fully licensed preschool.
La Scuola moved into its preschool campus at 728 20th St. in 2010, and its elementary school that covers up to second grade opened in 2012. La Scuola's new location includes third grade students this school year, and will add a grade each year until eighth grade is covered.
Prior to visiting La Scuola, Renzi will meet with more than 150 entrepreneurs of the Italian high-tech sector in The City. He will also visit Twitter's headquarters today and meet with CEO Dick Costolo, as well as Yahoo to meet with CEO Marissa Mayer.
San Francisco has a rich history with the Italian culture. It boasted the largest Italian population in the U.S. during and after the Gold Rush, from about 1840 to 1900, when thousands of Italian immigrants mainly from northern Italy flocked to The City, said Laws.